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Vikas Kamat
 Vikas Kamat is a programmer- entrepreneur living in Birmingham AL. This blog is a complex mix of Indian culture, life in southern USA, computer sciences, and sports. Opinions are his own.
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Understanding the Violence in Bangalore Durable Link to this BLOG
Understanding the Violence in Bangalore

Water Color  Painting by Vikas Kamat

Lot of people are shocked out of their wits about the violence that has marred Bangalore in the aftermath of the death of a popular movie star, Raj Kumar.

I am sad at the violence and disruption. But I am not surprised or shocked. That was to be expected. Raj Kumar was God to his fans.

I list below the my notes on such violence in India.

  • Raj Kumar was a cult figure (just like MGR, Indira Gandhi, and Mahatma Gandhi) and people worshipped him. Some people go the extent of immolating themselves in grief. It is perhaps due to the emotional immaturity of present day Indian civilization, but their loss has to be understood.
  • There is violence in India every time a great leader dies, because people who don't grieve enough are punished by those grieving. They think that someone not grieving enough is being disrespectful. So going to work or go shopping as if Raj Kumar has not died is simply unacceptable to some segment of the society.
  • Crowd violence is bound to happen when a million people show up to pay their last respects and are not given a chance. When people can't go to Bangalore to attend the funeral, they get upset and burn the buses. When police try to restrict the crowds, the crowds get angry and stone the police. It is fundamentally a crowd management problem, except that in this case the crowds are very upset.
  • We have a saying in India "Gummulu Govinda" -- it is OK to misbehave in a crowd because you are not going to be singled out for punishment. Nobody is going to know who is responsible for the riots. We have seen this everywhere; in Los Angeles, in New Orleans, as Indira Gandhi would say "It is a global phenomenon"!
  • The Raj Kumar's fans have a especially violent history. Once a movie critic wrote a bad review of one of his movies and the fans kidnapped the journalist and roughed him up. They regularly burn Tamil homes and movie-houses. They take to violence to share river-water, to teach Kannada or to balance the injustice meted out somewhere else. They probably are angry at me because I have not referred to him as Dr. Rajkumar (an honorary doctorate that the fans thought was so cool, they made it his first name)

I am not shocked, but I concur with Anita Bora that Raj Kumar did deserve a dignified funeral.

Important Bangaloreans Kannadigas

Talking about Bangalore, there is an important junction in Bangalore called "N.S. Hardikar Circle" named after a great man. But nobody seems to know about him. Today I am very proud to publish a biography of Narayan Subbarao Hardikar, a magnetic leader who served India so well.

N. S. Hardikar (1889-1975) Karnad Sadashiv Rao (1881- 1936)

Also, the plush Sadashivnagar neighborhood where Raj Kumar lived is named after this humble man.

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Friday, April 14, 2006
Last Modified: 5/4/2006 4:35:49 PM

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